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Low-carbon ammonia in Nebraska and the Netherlands

Last week, two new low-carbon ammonia production projects were announced, both of them large-scale and largely CO2-free. Monolith Materials announced a 275,000 ton per year “clean ammonia” plant in Nebraska, in the heart of the US cornbelt. The plant will begin construction in 2021, expanding the existing demonstration plant, using Monolith’s methane pyrolysis process powered by 100% renewable electricity. Ørsted and Yara announced their plan to produce 75,000 tons per year of “green ammonia” at Yara’s existing Sluiskil plant in the Netherlands. They intend to install a 100 MW electrolyzer, using Ørsted’s offshore wind energy, with a final investment decision expected in 2021-2022, and production beginning in 2024-2025.

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A Deep Dive into SIP “Energy Carriers” Ammonia Combustion Research (second half)

From 2014 to 2018 Bunro Shiozawa served as Deputy Program Director of the SIP “Energy Carriers” initiative in Japan. Over the last year he has published a ten-part series of articles that describe and reflect on the research supported by the initiative. Part 4 covers ammonia combustion technologies. The first half of the article was posted on September 23, 2020, in Shiozawa's English translation. The second half follows.

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Saudi Arabia ships low-carbon ammonia to Japan

Last week, Saudi Aramco and the IEEJ attracted significant media attention when they announced that the first “blue” ammonia has been shipped to Japan. Aramco’s celebration of this shipment of 40 tons of ammonia (not 40 thousand or 40 million, just 40 tons) raises many questions, but makes three things clear. First, projects to demonstrate the carbon footprint of specific batches of low-carbon ammonia are now underway, and these case studies will inform the design of an international low-carbon ammonia certification scheme. Second, there is an urgent need to establish definitions across the industry, or risk losing credibility. Third, Aramco (absolutely the most profitable company in the world, with over a hundred oil and gas fields and almost 300 trillion scf of natural gas reserves) has sent a clear signal that it intends to make and sell ammonia as a decarbonized energy commodity.

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US Senators Show Strong Interest in Ammonia-Fueled Shipping

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, led by Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), recently hosted a hearing on offshore energy technologies. I was invited to testify on technology and policy options for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the marine shipping sector, and I used the opportunity to spotlight ammonia's central role in that effort.

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Picking bunker winners: the mono-fuel / dual-fuel duel

This week, DNV GL published its annual Maritime Forecast to 2050, concluding that “e-ammonia, blue ammonia and bio-methanol are the most promising carbon-neutral fuels in the long run.” DNV GL’s assumptions that determine this long run, however, suggest a significant mid-term reliance on fossil LNG. This risks locking the industry into a long-term emissions trajectory incompatible with the IMO’s 2050 GHG targets, in part because of significant fuel supply and infrastructure investments. These investments could become more ‘sticky’ than expected. A host of alternative opinions have been published in the days before and after DNV GL published its report. These suggest that, for ammonia, the long run could begin this decade. Among others, MAN ES has announced that its ammonia engine will be available for retrofits by 2025.

Article

A Deep Dive into SIP “Energy Carriers” Ammonia Combustion Research

From 2014 to 2018 Bunro Shiozawa served as Deputy Program Director of the SIP “Energy Carriers” initiative in Japan. Over the last year he has published a ten-part series of articles that describe and reflect on the research supported by the initiative. Part 4 covers ammonia combustion technologies. The first half of the article follows, in Shiozawa's English translation. The second half will be posted in the near future.

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Japan’s NYK and partners to develop ammonia fueled and fueling vessels

In recent weeks, the Japanese shipping company NYK Line has announced a series of high-profile research and development collaborations that aim to establish ammonia fueled vessels and fuel supply. Its partners in these projects include classification society Class NK, engine manufacturer IHI Power Systems, and shipbuilder Japan Marine United Corporation. Three vessel types have been announced, so far, including an ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carrier, an ammonia barge for offshore bunkering, and an ammonia-fueled tugboat (for navigating the barge). Pushing beyond the initial research phase, these collaborations aim for commercialization and to put these vessels “into practical use.”

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New IEA Report: One Take on the Sustainable Energy Economy

Last week the International Energy Agency released Energy Technology Perspectives 2020. The report has an upbeat tone, envisioning a high degree of feasibility for the development and deployment of relevant technologies. For those working in the sustainable energy field, though, the aspect of greatest interest may be the relative weights placed on fossil fuels, bioenergy, and hydrogen.

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Communique from the AEA Australia 2020 conference

AEA Australia’s second annual Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 conference took place at the end of August, hosted virtually by Monash University with the support of CSIRO. Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, gave the opening address, “Ammonia — is it a fuel, or is it an energy carrier?” The conference keynote speech was given by Rob Stevens of Yara, entitled “The role of Ammonia in a hydrogen economy.”

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Series Presents Japanese Perspective on Ammonia as a CO2-Free Fuel

From 2014 to 2018, I served as Deputy Program Director of SIP “Energy Carriers” under Mr. Shigeru Muraki, Program Director, and alongside my fellow Deputy Program Director, Dr. Ken-ichi Aika. After helping to bring the Energy Carriers' work to a successful conclusion, I decided to write a series of articles that describe prospects for ammonia as a CO2-free fuel and hydrogen carrier, as well as activities to construct a value chain of CO2-free ammonia. The articles were published in the on-line journal of Japan’s International Environment and Economy Institute (IEEI).